Ah! The holidays…a time for frantic shopping, decorating trees and emergency room visits. Well, that last one about the ER is something we celebrate on a regular basis in my family. My brother Denny fell down the step of the front porch this morning…and he is sitting in the Banjoville ER waiting on x-ray results. If he has a broken wrist/arm they will need to put a cast on him, and that is not going to sit too well with him.
I promised my daughter that we would get the Christmas tree today, something she has nagged about…I told her the tree will be au naturale this year, which means only white lights, strung popcorn and ribbon.
Anyway, since so much is going on today, I am posting this afternoon thread earlier than usual.
Apple has announced it is moving some of the manufacture jobs to the US…for a review check this post out by Emptywheel: The ameriMac
Presumably because of Apple’s rocky PR and financial results of late, Tim Cook gave two purportedly “Exclusive!” interviews, to NBC News and Businessweek. The big takeaway from both “Exclusives!” was the same, however: that Apple will move some production of the Mac back to the US next year.
You were instrumental in getting Apple out of the manufacturing business. What would it take to get Apple back to building things and, specifically, back to building things in the U.S.?
It’s not known well that the engine for the iPhone and iPad is made in the U.S., and many of these are also exported—the engine, the processor. The glass is made in Kentucky. And next year we are going to bring some production to the U.S. on the Mac. We’ve been working on this for a long time, and we were getting closer to it. It will happen in 2013. We’re really proud of it. We could have quickly maybe done just assembly, but it’s broader because we wanted to do something more substantial. So we’ll literally invest over $100 million. This doesn’t mean that Apple will do it ourselves, but we’ll be working with people, and we’ll be investing our money.
Thus far, I have not seen any acknowledgment that this move comes just two months after Lenovo made a similar announcement, that it was going to bring production of formerly IBM products back to Tim Cook’s old stomping grounds in IBM’s former production hub of North Carolina.
Well, personally I love Lenovo products….but this news that jobs are coming back the states is something good to hear about. I just hope that things don’t go the way of Toyota. When they moved manufacture from Japan to Tennessee, the product quality went down…for reasons I don’t know. I guess we just have to see how it goes.
This week the Senate (GOP Ratfukkerz) voted against the UN Disability treaty, it seems that there is a buzz going on about something Inhofe said, via Little Green Footballs: Inhofe and Monckton Bring the Theocratic, Creationist Texas Eagle Forum to the UN to Deny Climate Change
Watch the full video (available later today) at:
The current United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference, COP 18, is ongoing in Doha, Qatar and like all previous COPs there is an abundance of representation of global interests, not the least of which are foreign ministers (or their deputies) of many nations, and a swarm of international press.
And, as usual and like moths to a light, these COPs attract a very wide range of what most of us perceive as “fringe” organizations and individuals, as well as many serious foreign policy organizations.
Relatively few however hold press briefings in the main press conference room, yet somehow Senator Inhofe managed to get 30 minutes in front of the press to present a video by himself and a live brief by Christopher Monckton, as well as a spokesman for the “Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow.”
And they brought one more person to speak: Cathie Adams, of the Texas Eagle Forum.
We all know of the long running connection between Inhofe and Monckton and various monied interests (especially fossil fuel companies), and Senator Inhofe’s fundamentalist Christian beliefs and his own theocratic tendencies are well documented.
Where the hell do they get these committee names from? Double speak? You bet your ass! Anyway, back to the idiots, and their constructive tomorrows:
But what of Cathie Adams? Fortunately for us TFN did a short backgrounder on her when earlier this year she resumed being head of the Texas Eagle Forum after even the Texas GOP party had quite enough of her as their leader:
- Adams sees religious diversity as a threat to this country. From an October 1999 TEF letter:
‘(W)e must place our faith in the ONE true God, then humble ourselves, pray and seek Him and repent for our sins. Then God will forgive us and heal our land. Do you think that a jealous God will tolerate ‘religious pluralism’ and allow us to come to Him any way we please? Absolutely not!’
- Adams believes that the United Nations is paving the way for the ‘anti-Christ.’
From a 2000 TEF letter:
‘The Bible tells us that in the end times there will be a world government headed by a world leader, called the anti-Christ, who will profess a world religion, but did you ever think you would live in the day when these things would come into being? That is exactly what the United Nations is doing behind the backs of most Americans.’
From a January 1999 TEF newsletter:
‘In the future, the anti-Christ will use the pleas for human rights, economic equity and a promise to ‘end all wars’ to found global government… . God is not the author of global government, the anti-Christ is, and the UN conspicuously manifests his warmongering spirit.’
So, Inhofe arranges for someone who thinks the UN is a front for the Anti-Christ be his spokesman at a climate change conference, to convince us all that climate change is a hoax.
Please…it is beyond ridiculous and embarrassing. As LGF points out:
Oh, and of course:
Adams is an anti-science zealot.
Criticizing evolution in an October 2003 email to TEF activists during the Texas State Board of Education’s debate over proposed new science textbooks:
‘Did you evolve from an ape or were you created by God? This is NOT a rhetorical question. Your child or grandchild WILL be taught according to what you choose now.’
Yes, she’s a die hard literal creationist.
This is who Inhofe sends to put up in front of the world to argue climate change is a hoax.
The UNFCCC has many problems and (not uncommon with other forums that include most of the nations of the world) has proven to be rather ineffective at addressing climate change.
Yet to add to that ineffectiveness, Inhofe, Monckton, and Adams got prime speaking time in the UNFCCC press briefing room to spout conspiracy theories and wingnut fantasies.
This is a new low for the UNFCCC, and that is saying something.
I think it is more of a new low regarding the world’s opinion of United States Senators, and the dumb asses who elect them.
Alright, here’s the rest of today’s reads:
Handyman kidnapped ‘to do repair’ -From the Independent…and here I thought the crazy Inhofe/Adams thing was bad optics for our reputation in the global scheme of things. This couple kidnapped a dude to fix their dishwasher.
A man and a woman were arrested in San Jose, California after they abducted a local handyman and forced him to repair their dishwasher.
Jason DeJesus, 36, and Chanelle Troedsen, 33, invited the 50-year-old handyman to their home When he arrived, they beat him and threatened him with further violence if he failed to comply with their demands. During his eight-hour ordeal, the man dealt with the faulty kitchen appliance, as well as a broken door.
In Naples, Italy, things never change: Mafia hitmen kill rival in Naples nursery playground
Mafia hitmen chased a rival gangster into a nursery school in northern Naples and shot him dead while four-year-olds were singing Christmas carols just yards away, it has emerged.
Even battle-weary citizens of the area’s bloody Camorra drug wars were horrified by the latest killing. Within minutes of the hit on Tuesday morning, panic-stricken parents arrived at the school clamouring to see if their children were safe.
After the killers fled the children were led to safety by teachers. “We were practising songs for the Christmas recital,” said a teacher at the Eugenio Montale pre-school. “We took them out through a back door and they didn’t see the body.”
And…check this out: Seeing in color at the nanoscale
A new microscopy tool promises to revolutionize nanoscale imaging. Left, a design schematic of the so-called “campanile” microscopy tip. Right, an electron micrograph of the tip and, inset, the UC Berkeley campanile bell-tower for which it is named. Credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
If nanoscience were television, we’d be in the 1950s. Although scientists can make and manipulate nanoscale objects with increasingly awesome control, they are limited to black-and-white imagery for examining those objects. Information about nanoscale chemistry and interactions with light—the atomic-microscopy equivalent to color—is tantalizingly out of reach to all but the most persistent researchers.
Read more about nanoscience at the link.
Enjoy your Thursday evening, this is an open thread.
Today I made the argument about voting for Obama, it was in answer to my husband who is planning on voting Rmoney…I told him, how could he vote for Romney when he has a daughter? Doesn’t he realize what a Romney/Ryan presidency would be disastrous for young women like our daughter? His response was, oh they will never pass the kind of stuff you write about. We all know differently. And it is frustrating as hell!
Fox News co-host Steve Doocy on Monday attempted spin Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s “ideologue” label as an advantage to Mitt Romney’s campaign.
During a series of interviews on Sunday, Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod blasted Ryan’s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system while skewing tax cuts to the wealthy, calling Wisconsin Republican a “right-wing ideologue” over and over and over again.
“They’re trying to define Ryan before Mitt Romney even gets a chance to introduce Paul Ryan,” Fox News host Eric Bolling noted on Monday.
“What’s a matter with being an ideologue?” Doocy wondered. “I mean, an ideologue means you stand for something. And these guys clearly stand for something.”
In fact, Merriam-Webster defines ideologue as “an impractical idealist” or “an often blindly partisan advocate or adherent of a particular ideology.”
I remember that the German’s and the sympathetic press would refer to Hitler being a “fanatic” as a good thing. Y’all know how they twist the words around to mean something different to the idiots who watch and listen to their shows or read their opinions.
You gotta see the face on Mitt, one would think he was doing a SNL skit.
Awkward. On 60 minutes, Ryan talks eliminating tax shelter loopholes as Romney tries not to look horrified.
Mitt Romney and his newly anointed running mate Paul Ryan didn’t make much news in their first joint interview of the campaign on Sunday on 60 Minutes. But one exchange stood out: When asked about the fairness of his tax plan by CBS’s Bob Schieffer, Romney fought back against the suggestion that his policies would disproportionately favor the most wealthy. Here’s what Romney said:
Fairness dictates that the highest-income people should pay the greatest share of taxes, and they do. And the committment that I’ve made is we will not have the top income earners in this country pay a smaller share of the tax burden. The highest-income people will continue to pay the largest share of the tax burden, and middle income payers under my plan get a break. Their taxes come down. So we’re not going to reduce taxes for high income people and we are going to reduce taxes for middle income people.
Ryan went on to explain that he and Romney would make the system more fair by shutting down tax loopholes that exclusively favor the rich. (In other words, the kind of tax loopholes Romney has taken advantage of.)
And one more for tonight’s reads: No one puts Mittens in the corner | Suburban Guerrilla
The Mittster rolls the dice, because businessmen rule! Once you make gobs of money, you have access to all the hidden knowledge of the universe and no one tells you what to do:
Mitt Romney appears to have picked Paul Ryan as his running mate over the objections of top political advisors, offering a glimpse at the leadership style of the Republican nominee in the most important decision of his campaign.
Romney’s aides have stressed publicly in the 24 hours since Romney electrified conservatives with his choice that the pick was the governor’s alone. They have been less forthcoming on the flip side: That much of his staff opposed the choice for the same reason that many pundits considered it unlikely — that Ryan’s appealingly wonky public image and a personality Romney finds copasetic will matter far less than two different budget plans whose details the campaign now effectively owns.
“Everybody was against [Ryan] to start with only Romney for,” said one top Republican, who is skeptical of the choice and griped that Romney’s top advisors have “been giving Mitt everything he wanted in this campaign.”
That’s it for this Monday’s Evening Reads…this is an open thread.
Wow, I am not sure what is going on, but I am still tired! So here is the rest of the post from this morning. In link dump fashion of course. Grab some crackers or chips or melba toast and dig into these delectable DIPS…(Dumbass Intolerant PLUB Sentiments)
Go and read this link that PDgray shared…Sarah J. Jackson: What’s Wrong with Media Coverage of Women Olympians?
Then, go read this thing from Fox News…Serena flubs crowning moment
Then, take a look at this one…These Three Court Rulings on Women’s Health Will Give You a Rage Headache
Are you feeling it yet?
This one is sure to add one more layer to the already over topped sexist, racist, misogynistic hate encrusted Ritz cracker: From Bachmann to Romney: Coded racial rhetoric is out of control
Let’s start loading up on another chip, cause mine just broke under the weight of all that crap above…and besides we don’t want to double-dip a chip.
More DIPS shit? Basu: GOP opens door to a partisan judiciary
So it’s come to this. The Iowa Republican Party is demanding the state’s judiciary square its rulings with a GOP party platform plank, or be punished.
That’s in effect what party Chairman A.J. Spiker is doing when he calls on voters to oust Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins at the polls in November. Wiggins is targeted for being on the court that unanimously ruled the state cannot deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Using buzzwords about “activist judges” imposing their personal views, Spiker said, “The people of Iowa are tired of increasingly powerful bureaucrats arrogantly and deceitfully instituting law when they have no justification or ability to do so.” Actually, what Wiggins did was read the Iowa Constitution — exactly as the other six justices, both appointees by Republican and Democratic governors, did.
Woooo, after that kind of snacking I think we are ready for something to drink. So take a long pull on this cool one:
Daniel Garcia/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Ethiopia’s Tiki Gelana handled the field and the rain to finish the women’s marathon in record time.
On the narrow streets of Sunday’s women’s Olympic marathon, Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia reached for her water bottle and collided with another runner just beyond the halfway point. She fell to the ground and scraped her right elbow. She got up and was bumped again.
“I said, ‘Oh wow, I’m not going to finish,’ ” Gelana said. “I just concentrated on running. All of a sudden I made it.”
She did not see the runner who knocked her down inadvertently as runners scrambled to get their liquids and avoid dehydration. But Gelana climbed to her feet, remained poised and set an Olympic record to win in 2 hours 23 minutes 7 seconds.
Here is another cool drink to sip from: The women changing Britain’s unions
From left, Sian Rabi-Laleh of Unison, Alice Hood and Scarlet Harris of the TUC, Helen Parker-Jayne Isibor of the Musicians’ Union, Becky Wright of the TUC and Natalie Jacottet of the CWU. Photograph: Suki Dhanda
In 1943, Women’s Own reported an astonishing feat. “Job experts said that no woman could do boring, screwing a breech ring for the barrel of a six-pounder tank gun in a giant lathe, but Miss Megan Lewis, 22… has been doing it at the ordnance factory where 80% of machine operatives are women. She said, ‘I learned by watching the setter at the machine. Officials were astounded.’”
During the second world war, most women were at work against the wishes of the trade unions. Traditionally, unions argued that men needed to earn a “family wage” sufficient to keep a wife and children and this should not be undercut by women claiming male skilled jobs and equal pay; a woman’s place was in the home. Employment was – and still often is – segregated. Men then were employed in heavy industry, women in the low-paid business of care, secretarial and admin work and the service sector.
Trade unions are an important component in a democratic society, but for decades they did not serve women well. Strikes and negotiations were a beer-and-sandwiches job almost exclusively conducted by and for “the brothers”. Meetings were at night, when most women were at home engaged in ironing shirts and childcare. “I’m all right, Jack” was the slogan while, with honourable exceptions, the men paid scant attention to the needs of Jill, often the sole breadwinner in the family. The image of the average trade unionist was a white, working-class and blue-collar bloke: “male, pale and stale”.
That was just a taste, go read the rest at the link.
There is a lot going on in Syria, here are a few updates:
More than 20,000 Syrian troops are massed around Aleppo, military sources say, as fighting rages for control of the country’s second city.
Fighter jets, helicopters and artillery have pounded rebel positions ahead of a feared full-scale assault within days.
Tanks are trying to push into two key rebel-held areas, the opposition says.
The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that more than 40 Syrians, including 25 civilians, were verified as killed Sunday in the country. The casualties have not been independently verified.
Meanwhile, Iranian media said Tehran has asked Turkey and Qatar to help secure the release of 48 Iranian nationals kidnapped Saturday in Damascus. Iran said the victims were religious pilgrims, but a brigade commander with the Free Syrian Army describes them as elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
Iran backs the Syrian government, while Turkey and Qatar support the Syrian opposition.
Jodi B. Seth, Washington
The writer is communications director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is chaired by Sen. John F. Kerry.
I was stunned to read the assertion that Bashar al-Assad ever had “prominent admirers in the United States, including Sen. John F. Kerry” [“For besieged Syrian dictator Assad, only exit may be body bag,” front page, Aug. 1]. Mr. Kerry never claimed or believed that Mr. Assad was a “reformer” or had any interest beyond regime survival. But that one interest was the reason that former secretaries of state James Baker and Henry Kissinger and Sens. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) believed it was worth testing U.S. engagement with Damascus, after eight years of isolationist policies had moved Syria only closer to Iran.
I have another letter/op-ed for you, this time about Walmart and Minimum wage: Marcus Edgerson: Walmart Worker Speaks Out: Raise the Minimum Wage to Get My Vote
I am family man, I have a wife and I just had a child. I am also a veteran, a Marine who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom. I now work at Walmart, serving customers every day. While I am excited and appreciative to have a job, I wish that I was paid enough to make ends meet. I currently make $7.70 an hour, three cents more than Florida’s minimum wage. At 30 hours per week, that’s a little more than $12,000 per year. That is just not enough to pay for food, rent and and still pay for things like car insurance. I don’t drive now because I can’t afford it. And believe me, it is hard to survive in South Florida without a car.
However, not everyone at Walmart makes minimum wage. Mike Duke, our CEO, made $18 million last year. That’s close to $9,000 an hour. Many Walmart workers would be happy to make $9 an hour.
And we will close this article about Mars, let’s hope Curiosity sticks the landing! NASA hopes Curiosity landing site is a Grand Canyon of Mars
In the spring of 1869, a geology professor who had lost an arm to a musket ball at the Battle of Shiloh led a tortuous journey down a canyon that had been etched into stone, a mile deep, by the unremitting force of the Colorado River.
There, in what would become known as the Grand Canyon, John Wesley Powell found a diary of the Earth’s adolescence — layer upon layer of varied, exposed rock spanning 2 billion years. If there were a Bible of geology, Powell wrote, this would be the Book of Revelation.
On Sunday, 143 years later, scientists will attempt to retrace that journey — on Mars.
Have a good day y’all, I am going back to bed!
Yesterday I read an interesting essay by William Black over at New Economic Perspectives. In the essay, Black, who headed the forensic audit team during the S&L crisis, pulls forward the Broken Window Theory, a criminological model based on a simple and some have said simplistic idea. The theory was introduced by James Q. Wilson and received a fair amount of popularity during the 1990s, particularly in conservative circles.
Readers might remember Rudy Giuliani’s ‘war against graffiti,’ his zero-tolerance campaign in NYC. That effort, the elimination of the squeegee men and the crack down on street prostitution among other things were based on the broken window philosophy, which uses an abandoned building metaphor.
Imagine a building in any neighborhood [although Wilson focused exclusively on what he termed ‘blue-collar crime.’] The first broken window of our abandoned building if left unrepaired sends a clear message to antisocial types: no one cares about this building. So, it’s open season on all the other windows, on anything of value that’s been left behind. If the owner doesn’t care about the integrity of the building then the street tough is encouraged to vandalize and take whatever’s not nailed down.
The attitude feeds on itself or so the theory goes. Honest citizens are less likely to confront the petty thief, which only encourages others to act out in destructive, antisocial ways. Honest citizens begin to feel overwhelmed and outnumbered and stop safeguarding their own neighborhoods. What’s the point? they say. No one cares. Communities begin to self-destruct.
Now whether you buy into this crime theory or not, I think the metaphor holds when you consider what we’ve been witnessing in the degradation of our financial markets, our legal system, even the refusal to admit that ‘there’s trouble in River City.’
As Professor Black points out, if we were to take Wilson’s theory and apply it to the explosion of ‘white collar crime’ within our financial system, it would be a major step in restoring the integrity of our system and bolstering peer pressure against misconduct. As it stands now, Wall Street movers and shakers and their DC handmaidens have implemented business-as-usual policies that reward the thief and punish the whistleblower. As Black points out in the essay:
We have adopted executive and professional compensation systems that are exceptionally criminogenic. We have excused and ignored the endemic “earnings management” that is the inherent result of these compensation policies and the inherent degradation of professionalism that results from allowing CEOs to create a Gresham’s dynamic among appraisers, auditors, credit rating agencies, and stock analysts. The intellectual father of modern executive compensation, Michael Jensen, now warns about his Frankenstein creation. He argues that one of our problems is dishonesty about the results. Surveys indicate that the great bulk of CFOs claim that it is essential to manipulate earnings. Jensen explains that the manipulation inherently reduces shareholder value and insists that it be called “lying.” I have seen Mary Jo White, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who now defends senior managers, lecture that there is “good” “earnings management.”
My husband had some unsettling experience in this area. Early in his career, he worked as a CPA [the two companies will remain nameless]. But in each case, he was ‘asked’ to clean up the numbers, make them look better than they were. He refused and found himself on the street, looking for employment elsewhere. I remember him saying at the time, ‘Look, I’m a numbers guy. I’ve never been good at fiction writing.’ This was back in the late 70s early 80s, so this attitude has been a long time in the making. Now, we’re seeing accounting fraud that is literally off the charts. Is it any wonder the country’s financial system is on life support?
We can see the destructive results of this careless, corrupt posturing all around us. Professor Black continued:
Fiduciary duties are critical means of preventing broken windows from occurring and making it likely that any broken windows in corporate governance will soon be remedied, yet we have steadily weakened fiduciary duties. For example, Delaware now allows the elimination of the fiduciary duty of care as long as the shareholders approve. Court decisions have increasingly weakened the fiduciary duties of loyalty and care. The Chamber of Commerce’s most recent priorities have been to weaken Sarbanes-Oxley and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. We have made it exceptionally difficult for shareholders who are victims of securities fraud to bring civil suits against the officers and entities that led or aided and abetted the securities fraud. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PSLRA) has achieved its true intended purpose – making it exceptionally difficult for shareholders who are the victims of securities fraud to bring even the most meritorious securities fraud action.
Reading this, I immediately sensed we could apply the metaphor just as easily to our legal predicament. Dak wrote to this yesterday—about the disheartening disrepair of our justice system, which was badly wounded during the Bush/Cheney years with the help of eager lawyers like John Yoo, stretching, reinterpreting, rewriting the parameters on the subjects of torture, indefinite detention, rendition, etc.
Not to be outdone, Eric Holder stood before Northwestern University’s Law School the other day and with the same twisted logic, explained away due process, otherwise known as ‘how to justify assassination.’ In this case, American citizens, those the President deems are a threat to the Nation, can be killed on native ground or foreign soil. Jonathon Turley, law professor at George Washington University and frequent legal commentator in the media, headed a recent blog post as follows: Holder Promises to Kill Citizens with Care.
Sorry, this does not make me feel better. What it does make me think is lawlessness simply breeds more lawlessness. The Broken Window theory writ large. As Turley explained:
The choice of a law school was a curious place for discussion of authoritarian powers. Obama has replaced the constitutional protections afforded to citizens with a “trust me” pledge that Holder repeated yesterday at Northwestern. The good news is that Holder promised not to hunt citizens for sport.
Holder proclaimed that “The president may use force abroad against a senior operational leader of a foreign terrorist organization with which the United States is at war — even if that individual happens to be a U.S. citizen.” The use of the word “abroad” is interesting since senior Administration officials have asserted that the President may kill an American anywhere and anytime, including the United States. Holder’s speech does not materially limit that claimed authority. He merely assures citizens that Obama will only kill those of us he finds abroad and a significant threat. Notably, Holder added “Our legal authority is not limited to the battlefields in Afghanistan.”
Turley went on to comment that Holder was vague, to say the least, when it came to the use of these ‘new’ governmental/executive powers, claiming that the powers-that-be will only kill citizens when:
“the consent of the nation involved or after a determination that the nation is unable or unwilling to deal effectively with a threat to the United States.”
And as far as ‘due process?” Holder declared that:
“a careful and thorough executive branch review of the facts in a case amounts to ‘due process.’”
Chilling! As Turley grimly noted in an earlier post, this is no longer the land of the free.
Seemingly unrelated was this report from the New York Times: the heart of Dublin’s 12th-century patron saint was stolen earlier this week from Christ’s Church Cathedral. The heart of Laurence O’Toole had been housed in a heart-shaped box, safely secured [or so church authorities believed] within an iron cage. The relic’s disappearance was preceded by a rash of reliquary robberies from churches, monasteries and convents around Ireland. According to the article:
The small cage hosting the heart-shaped box containing the relic was tucked away in an innocuous alcove at the side of a small altar. Visitors to the cathedral on Monday stared at the twisted bars and the empty space behind. The bars themselves were sundered evenly.
According to Dermot Dunne, dean of Christ Church, the box had lain undisturbed for centuries. He had no idea why someone would take it.
Whether it’s the heart of a saint or the heart of a Nation, the theft is a grievous insult. The crime betrays the public trust and our basic sense of decency. But the thieves of O’Tooles’s heart performed a curious act before exiting.
The Irish culprits lit candles at two of the Cathedral’s altars. Which means the perpetrators possessed, at the very least, an ironic sense of tradition.
The same cannot be said of our homegrown hooligans. Crass greed and the lust for unlimited power have their own dark tradition. As Americans, we do not expect vice to be confused with virtue. In the past, we could not imagine a blatant disrespect for the Rule of Law–crimes ignored, excused, then openly declared necessary for whatever raison du moment.
Not here, we told ourselves repeatedly. Not in the United States.
Perhaps, we should light candles of our own. A small devotion for the lost and dying.
In the Land of the Delusional the Koch brothers are principled citizens who merely disagree with Democratic policy stands and are aghast at the vindictive slurs leveled against them and all other sincere, freedom-loving Republicans. In the Land of the Delusional, the hate and rage on review is a product of pink-bellied Lefties, Alinski acolytes, looking to take down American virtue and reduce the country’s might and glory. In the Land of the Delusional bankrupt ideas, economic mayhem and privateering can be obscured by attacks on woman, gays and the down and outers.
March is living up to its reputation—coming in like snarling Lion. Rush Limbaugh exposed a full Monty of misogyny, his comments on Sandra Fluke provoking even House Speaker Boehner to suggest the diatribe was ‘inappropriate.’ What inspired the outburst? Several weeks of desperate frontal attacks on women’s healthcare issues, thinly veiled and wrapped beneath ‘religious liberty’ arguments.
Let’s not kid ourselves! This is little more than shifting the conversation from discussion over economic issues, for which the Republican party has no credible position. The US Budget Watch has reported that Republican plans to slash taxes on corporations and high-income earners would explode the national debt up to $3 trillion. And for all the ballyhoo by the Norquist group the Washington Post reported [as well as many other sources] that the country’s revenue-collection has eroded to a 60-year low.
From the WP report:
Polls show that a large majority of Americans blame wasteful or unnecessary federal programs for the nation’s budget problems. But routine increases in defense and domestic spending account for only about 15 percent of the financial deterioration, according to a new analysis of CBO data.
The biggest culprit, by far, has been an erosion of tax revenue triggered largely by two recessions and multiple rounds of tax cuts. Together, the economy and the tax bills enacted under former president George W. Bush, and to a lesser extent by President Obama, wiped out $6.3 trillion in anticipated revenue. That’s nearly half of the $12.7 trillion swing from projected surpluses to real debt. Federal tax collections now stand at their lowest level as a percentage of the economy in 60 years.
But why let facts stand in the way. Paul Ryan, the Republican’s designated ‘serious thinker’ certainly doesn’t.
Ryan also complimented Romney’s economic plan. The congressman’s stamp of approval has been important for Republicans since he earned praise last year for his ambitious budget — which would dramatically change Medicare— from strong conservatives.
“Very credible. They are talking about entitlement reform. They are putting specifics on the table on Medicare and Social Security reform. The president, knowing that these are the big drivers of our debt, is ducking it,” Ryan said of Romney’s proposals.
Ah, yes. The ideologically blind leading those blinded by ambition. That certainly gives me confidence.
But as Paul Krugman suggested a mere 10 ten days ago, Mitt Romney let slip a truism in the swirl of Michigan campaigning when he said:
“If you just cut, if all you’re thinking about doing is cutting spending, as you cut spending you’ll slow down the economy.”
Over which the ideological purists set the dogs loose. The Club for Growth immediately denounced the Romney slip, insisting that it was a clear indication that Mitt was an imposter, not a ‘true’ limited government conservative [translation: not willing to drown all government in that Norquist bathtub].
What’s a candidate to do? Retreat, of course, in the same way Romney flipped on the Blunt Amendment, breaking all records, I would guess. In less than an hour, Candidate Romney twisted from ‘not going to go there’ to ‘of course, I support it.’ Enough to make your head spin. This is a political party in the death throes.
So, what’s the best way to distract?
Let’s pillory the women, start calling them sluts or suggest they film sexual exploits for the sake of some overweight, mean-spirited shock jock. Or let’s pretend that the perceived decline of the Nation rests squarely on the shoulders of the Gay Community and their screechy insistence that they too expect and deserve [can you believe the gall of these people] basic civil rights. And don’t forget the statistics on the ever-expanding numbers of Americans slipping into poverty. We tried calling them losers and moochers. How about we deny they exist, the way a North Carolina legislator recently announced. Yes sir, that’s the ticket!
In the Land of the Delusional schizophrenics rule the day, magical thinking replaces reason and bare-foot and pregnant is a very good thing. In the Land of the Delusional all things are possible.
Except the truth.